The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 27, 2019 for ruling on a motion seeking the dismissal of a petition filed by Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited against three banks — African Export-Import Bank, Diamond Bank and Skye Bank Plc.
Shebah Exploration and its Chairman, Dr Ambrose Bryant Orjiako, are, in the petition, praying Justice Muslim Hassan to set aside the leave granted to the three banks to register an English judgement against them in Nigeria.
But an oil servicing firm, AOS Orwell Limited, to whom Shebah Exploration is allegedly indebted, appeared before Justice Hassan, praying that Shabah Exploration’s petition against the three banks should be dismissed.
AOS Orwell, which had commenced winding-up proceedings against Shebah Exploration over an alleged indebtedness, argued that Shebah Exploration could not file any petition against the banks without first obtaining the leave of Justice Saliu Saidu who is hearing the winding-up case.
AOS Orwell recalled that Justice Hadizat Shagari, from whom Justice Saidu inherited the winding-up case, had earlier appointed a provisional liquidator to manage the assets of Shebah Exploration.
AOS Orwell contended that without obtaining the leave of Justice Saidu, Shebah Exploration could not file any petition against the three banks.
But Shebah Exploration has urged Justice Hassan to ignore AOS Orwell’s motion on notice, challenging its petition against the three banks.
In a counter-affidavit by one Martins Nwankwo, Shebah Exploration described AOS Orwell as an interloper, contending that its motion on notice was brought in bad faith.
It said, “The applicant (AOS Orwell) is not a party to the present suit, which has been filed by the petitioners to set aside the orders of this court granting leave to the respondents to register a foreign judgement obtained in the High Court of England and Wales against the petitioners.
“The transaction culminating in the suit before the original court was a credit facility and other ancillary agreements between the petitioners and the respondents,to which the applicant is not privy and has no relationship whatsoever.
“The applicant was also not a party to the suit at the English High Court of England and Wales and therefore has no interest whatsoever in the subject matter of the present suit.
“I urge this court to dismiss the applicant’s motion dated 22nd October 2018 with substantial cost against the applicant, having truncated the hearing of the originating petition scheduled for the 23rd day of October 2018, necessitating the filing of processes in opposition and having been brought in bad faith.”
After taking arguments from the parties on Monday, Justice Hassan adjourned till March 27 for ruling.
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